Catching up with Akshay Kumar is always entertaining and enlightening. The actor, whose PadMan is based on the inspiring life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, spoke with his usual candidness on a range of topics at a media interaction. Here’s a sample of his revelations…
He is batting for no GST on sanitary napkins, saying they should actually be free for women!
Toilet: Ek Prem Katha created a lot of changes, he feels, about the problem of open defecation. Now on social media men are discussing sanitary pads and it’s his biggest victory. “I don’t care about the film’s business now,” he claimed.
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“This problem is there in every country but in ours, it's huge,” he stated. “It's an important film… Yeh ek aisa mudda hai jo har koi haath nai lagta. I am catering it as a love story with a social message.”
He shared that he had never heard about menstruation during his childhood, pointing out that a girl’s first period is celebrated in South India. He confesses that he first learnt about periods when he was 20, “and then two years back I got more information,” he adds, when he started prepping for the film. He also shared that currently 82% of the female population of our country doesn’t have the access to sanitary pads. He hopes that even if 5% women out of 82% gain awareness, he has won the battle.
There is no vulgarity in PadMan, he vouched. It’s a husband-wife love story, an innovative story with a message.
His biggest fear lasted 30 seconds when he had to wear a pink panty with a pad for the film.
And yes, he revealed that at their home, menstruation was not a taboo. Twinkle had taken care of it and explained to son Aarav about periods. “Nothing is hidden in our family. We don't live double-faced lives. We have kept it very open.”
Arunachalam (the innovator who was obsessed with the idea of creating cost-effective sanitary pads) was a great man with common sense. “Everybody can be Arunachalam,” Akshay encouraged.